Birdman Review

Preface

  • This is a film I had heard IMMENSE praise for, and couldn’t wait to check out.
  • My local movie theater finally got it, then my local movie theater finally got it at a showtime that wasn’t 10:30 at night, so let’s talk some Birdman!

Cast and Characters

  • If you’ve heard Oscar buzz for this film, then you’ve probably heard about the acting in it.
    • I can guarantee Best Lead Actor, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Supporting Actress nominations are locked from this film, but I’ll get to those.
  • First the characters.
    • There’s not one single character in this film I didn’t like.
    • All of the characters in this film are so grounded in reality, yet they all have caricature elements to them that make them believable for a film setting like this.
      • It’s hard to describe, see the movie.
    • And all of the characters fit into their places.
      • No one felt unused, out-of-place, or too much.
        • Perfect Distribution.
      • And the acting, holy God!
      • Michael Keaton plays Riggan, which is basically a role Michael Keaton was born to play.
        • Riggan is an actor who was famous for playing a superhero twenty years ago, and now he’s trying to make a comeback.
          • If that sounds familiar, Michael Keaton is also famous for playing a superhero twenty years ago, and now he’s trying to make a comeback.
        • And Riggan seems kind of one or two noted at first, but after the first few minutes you start to literally go inside this dude’s brain, and it is mesmerizing.
        • And by the end of the film, you’re thinking, “yeah, this is an Academy Award worthy performance.”
      • Speaking of Oscars, Edward Norton is in the movie and he is the best he’s been in a while!
        • I’ve heard these funny things about Edward Norton being hard to work with on set, and those carry onto this movie in the most hilarious way.
        • His character is like a super-actor, who does all of the method acting and takes it all extremely seriously.
        • He adds great comedy to the film, and has some of the cheesiest one-liners that aren’t cheesy.
          • They would be from anyone besides this character, but for this guy it just works.
        • Zach Galifiankis is also really effective in his role.
          • He isn’t just the dumb chubby guy in a comedy here.
          • His character has life to him, and emotions that actually transcend through him
          • Good casting choice.
        • And the final actor I’ll touch on is one not getting a ton of praise, maybe cuz she’s overshadowed by the other standouts, but Emma Stone KILLS IT in Birdman.
          • She plays the washed-up daughter of Keaton’s character and she sells it.
          • She doesn’t ‘disappear into the character’ or anything, but she delivers such a powerful performance that brings a familial element into the film.
          • And she has one of the two best monologues in this film.
            • It’s on YouTube, but she’s talking to Keaton about relevance and how he’s so worried about being important and why it matters so much to him.
            • It’s probably gonna be her Oscar clip because I guarantee a nomination, almost more so than one of the others.

Script

  • The script of this movie is the best I’ve seen all year, by far.
  • There was one scene where Norton was talking to Stone on a roof, and I had to take a step back and remind myself that this wasn’t actually happening.
    • I had to actually remind myself that I wasn’t with them, listening to this conversation take place, and remind myself it was only a movie.
    • That shows the quality.
  • The dialogue in this is so realistic, and not in any kind of Pulp Fiction or Social Network kind-of way.
    • It takes conversations that people have in the world everyday, and copies/pastes it onto the big screen.
  • The script follows really well too.
    • There might be a couple scenes that could have been shaved down, but nothing significant.
      • That and Norton’s arc just kinda disappears from the movie, not to be heard from again, so resolution for that may have helped.
    • And the other monologue in this film that was absurdly perfect: the one about critics.
      • This one critic is getting up in Keaton’s face for not possessing real talent and only being ‘a celebrity.’
      • So he gets back in hers and just starts breaking down what it means to be a ‘critic.’
      • Even though I don’t consider myself ‘a critic,’ some of the stuff he talks about I’m guilty of!
        • Comparing one thing to other things, occasionally using big words, etc.

Direction

  • The other main star of this movie who will be nominated for Best Director will be Alejandro González Iñárritu.
    • Yes, I did copy and paste his name from IMDb.
  • I’m sure you guys have all heard, but this movie was filmed to look like it was all one shot.
    • Like one continuous tracking shot.
      • Imagine True Detective or Goodfellas tracking shots, for two hours.
    • And much like Gone Girl, the specific direction adds this clawing sensation to the film, drenching it buckets of realism.
    • The film’s direction added so much to how the film was actually watched.
      • It makes Birdman feel like, quite frankly, an experience.
    • I don’t know if Iñárritu will win Best Director (Richard Linklater may have the favor of the Academy), but he’s an honorary winner in my book.

Themes/Morals

  • There were A TON of themes and morals running around this movie, but unlike Boyhood, I could actually pick them up while I was watching it!
  • This films deals with themes of duality, and existence, and whether or not we really matter, and what makes us: us.
  • The film is constantly challenging what makes Riggan himself, and how one thing defining you can be a really positive thing sometimes.
  • There were other morals about life, living, carpe diem, and more underneath the surface, but I’ll talk more about those in My Top 10 of the Year.

In Conclusion

  • There are certain aspects I look at when judging if a film is a 5/5.
    • Acting/Characters
      • Are all the actors absolute standouts?
      • Do any characters feel irrelevant?
      • Are all the characters useful and used to their fullest?
    • Script
      • Does what is happening feel believable?
      • Does the film fit perfectly into its designated genre, or create a brand of uniqueness?
    • Direction
      • Is the film well shot, well-directed, and well-made in general?
      • Is the direction effective for the kind of film being presented?
    • Morals and Themes
      • Does it have any?
      • Do they make you think about the film long after its over?
      • Do they seems relevant?
    • Remembrance
      • Are there scenes from the film that you specifically remember after the film ends?
      • Do you want to see the film again, or buy it on Blu-ray?
    • That all being said, Birdman is…

by definition!

A 5/5

  • It’s a brilliant film, and I hope you all get a chance to check it out by the time awards season hits, because you’ll be hearing a lot more about it then.

***

So guys, those are my thoughts on Birdman! What are your thoughts? Let me know down below, and as always, thanks for reading guys.

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